Posted: 25th May 2017
Wednesday 10th of May I flew from Limoges in France to Southampton Airport and Richard was there to meet me with the Mustang also known as Predator. It took him nearly 10 years to put the barely rolling, rusty chassis back to a thing of throaty purring beauty.
Thanks to Flybe (I love Flybe) I was early and thanks to the UK road network Rich was late, but as it was a ‘not bad’ day weather wise I hung around outside and was jumping in the car as someone coming up behind was mumbling “sweet” and at my age and shape he wasn’t talking about me ! From the airport we made it out on to the dual carriageway and headed straight to Portsmouth to catch the ferry back to France, and so began our mini road trip and ended my couple of hours in the UK.
Just a quick note here that we travelled Portsmouth to St Malo, my first experience of this route and I can’t enthuse about it enough. Firstly we left at 8pm so a lovely casual early loading with a stress free trip to our cabin, then a restful evening meal and can you believe evening entertainment ? In the morning it was equally as beautiful, a music alarm started playing around 6.45am I may be a bit off on that timing but the main point was that there was plenty of time for a shower and a breakfast before disembarking around 8.15am.
I’d managed to leave the TomTom at home in the Dordogne so it was going to be hit and miss with my telephone and google maps, the phone literally lost charge at the rate of a percentage per 5 minutes and as well as leaving the TomTom I also hadn’t packed the car charger (note to self – you’re a plonker)
Leaving the ferry port couldn’t be easier, no problem there, as we were in Predator our (Richard’s) main concern was fuelling up at this point, in the UK it barely got out of 3rd gear with narrow roads, traffic lights, roadworks and the sheer volume of traffic, so it was going to be a real field test to see how she did for fuel and generally coped after being driven for longer than 30 minutes at a time.
And she purred and purred and loved the roads and loved the lack of traffic, and the husband was happy and all was well in the world until the windscreen wipers developed a problem and the rain lashed down, and an hour in the gearbox started making noises, and the rain still lashed down…
We took the easy option of more or less following the D137 heading for our overnight stay at Chateau Champdolent, with a leisurely stop at Ill de Re. Still marvelling at how Predator seemed to just come alive on the roads in France, I’m not meaning breakneck speeds or drifting around corners and roundabouts, but compared to driving in the UK well it’s like trying to compare bare feet to running in custom made trainers.
The next day with a fully charged phone heading for Cognac and our tour “c’est obligatoire” - was definitely a challenge without proper info on where to park - unprepared me !! The roads in the centre got narrower and narrower and more and more one way streets, by this time I would have been spitting feathers but Rich just kept calm and amazingly kept following my directions….Tour complete and yes it is worth it, purchases made, it was time for lunch and then time to think about the last leg and making it home to Chalais.
With a brief stop in Limoges at Family Village, we made it home to TheAlpaca B&B at around 7.30 picking up a pizza on the way. Yes we pretty much stuck to main roads, yes they were empty, yes the countryside was beautiful, yes we did have to take into account where the next fuel station was, AROUND 16MPG ! but it was an absolute delight, Predator was completely at home and apart from a dodgy moment when we lost the windscreen wipers and the fact she needs a new layshaft bearing in the gearbox (the noise an hour into our trip) she purred for two days and 600 miles. With a few stopoffs and distractions Southampton to The Alpaca B&B in Chalais in North Dordogne = very doable and happy memories.